An exciting Heavyweight matchup on paper hopes to deliver in practice this May 23, 2015 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Match Up
Heavyweight Travis Browne -475 vs. Andrei Arlovski +380
3 Things You Should Know
1. Arlovski is a living relic who sometimes defends like one, but is still dangerous.
That Arlovski is still here, in the UFC no less,and on a two fight win streak since coming back to the ufc, no less, is nothing short of miraculous. Casual fans were asking for the mma doctors to put away the defribillator and call it a day on AA after the Kharitonov knockout. Now here he stands, facing off against one of the most dangerous HW fighters on the planet. It's hard to tell where exactly AA is headed. Towards a resurrection narrative? Or a tombstone? Whatever the case, HW is in short supply of athletic, hard hitting heavyweight fighters who aren't injured. So AA should continue to find success, even if might not against Browne.
2. Browne deserves those odds, but suffering a fate the odds don't imply wouldn't be shocking.
Browne is still kind of a mystery to me. His losses have never quite reflected what kind of fighter he is, nor have his wins. He's like a draft pick undergoing a growth spurt; his potential stunted during the common time frame. He's 32, so this analogy kind of breaks down. But he's having some considerate success all the same. Brenden Schaub is on the decline (well, not a decline so much as the competition has gotten better) but it's a good win nonetheless. And he's had better over guys like Barnett and with his only recent blemish against Fabricio Werdum.
3. This fight could be bad for three full rounds, or fun for one.
Matchup wise, it's an interesting contrast not of styles, but of mechanics. AA has always been a dynamic striker. I'll never forget his ability to generate enough power on the ground, off his back, against Marcio Cruz, with his right hand that functionally ended their bout (fence grabbinbg notwithstanidng). I'd imagine he'll have trouble with the taller Browne similar to what happened against Tim Sylvia. Yes, Arlovski had little trouble in landing his right in their first two fights, and capped off their weird saga with an illegal soccer kick to the face after dominating but Sylvia troubled him in spots, and he's hardly a paragon of pugilistic prowess. To be fair, Sylvia was an efficient fighter at one point. Nonetheless, it encapsulates Arlovski's inability to deal with rangy, aware strikers.
Browne is certainly that. He uses his height and reach well with his front kicks especially. Obviously, the best reflection of that efficiency is in the Alistair Overeem fight, in which Browne impaled Overeem with his phalanges.
However, Browne is also open to in the exchanges. Defensively, he struggles, confusing inactivity for awareness. The Kongo fight was god awful, even though it was awhile ago. Nonetheless, Browne needs to be more active at times, and I wonder of his countering style will be efficient against the quicker combinations Arvloski will be looking to land. For as much as people make about Arlovski's chin, he's only been knocked out by brutal punchers.
I get why Browne is the favorite. He's athletic, hits hard, and is bigger. I agree he'll win, but I think Arlovski has a better shot here than people give him credit for because of how his activity could offset Browne's counterstriking; a habit I feel is a little accidental on Browne's part, who never displays the comfort of playing the part.